By Andrew Farn aka MasonRaymond0320

A few years ago, I remember that I would walk into the local hobby shop every week, looking for any random Roberto Luongo insert. My favourite player back then was Luongo, and to me, he was god. I knew nothing about the hobby, and would buy any cards that looked attractive.

Well, just last year I stumbled across some YouTube videos made by a very nice member on sportscardforum.com named TannieS. It must have be a wonderful feeling to be able to receive mail, I thought, and that is how I got into card collecting. She recommended sportscardforum.com, so I ended up signing up. I did my research and learned about the different companies: the difference between In the Game and Upper Deck, and learned the differences between a swatch, jersey, and patch.

My favourite player was Mason Raymond. I went to a card show in search of his cards and came across a Mason Raymond Victory rookie for $5. I was of course filled with joy to be able to receive my first card for my collection. I started liking Ryan Kesler, and ended up collecting him. Then I started watching Matt Duchene, and liked the quick pace game he played, so I ended up collecting those 3 players.

I recently got some pretty high end cards pretty much for free from a few very special members on sportscardforum. So I have been able to have mid end cards, low end cards, and high end cards in my 3 different player collections. Plus I have been lucky enough to have gotten a few in-person autographs from some players that I have looked up to for the longest time. Here are some of my adventures:

I had the pleasure of meeting my 2 favourite players on the Vancouver Canucks (Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond), and absolutely loved the opportunity to be able to meet players that I watch every night on TV.

My experience with Ryan Kesler came weeks before Christmas last year. The holiday season made it even more exciting. With special deals on all of the Canuck merchandise, I could pick out anything that I thought was reasonably priced. I picked out a puck, and brought my t-shirt along for him to sign. My shirt is my mini project that I have been working on for the past year. It currently has 4 autographs on it (Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows, and Trevor Linden). I lined up for about an hour before meeting Kesler. He wasn’t very personal to you, but still a very nice guy. He signed my shirt, and my puck, we exchanged a few words, and I got ready for the long drive back home.

That was definitely one of the better days of my life. A day that I will not forget anytime soon. After he made Team USA for the 2010 Team USA hockey team, I was overjoyed that he had made it, and I felt privileged to have been able to meet one of the greatest players in the states.

Well, a few months later 3 Canuck players were to be stationed at 3 different malls, signing autographs. There was to be a Steve Bernier signing, Willie Mitchell signing, and an Alex Burrows signing. I chose the Willie Mitchell signing because he is one of my favourite defencemen in the NHL. A solid stay-at-home defencemen. I brought along a Mitchell poster, and my good ol’ Canucks shirt. At that time, I had 2 autographs on that shirt (Trevor Linden and Ryan Kesler). When I got to the mall for the signing, I patiently waited in line about 30 minutes prior to the signing. When I got my voucher, it said that Mason Raymond would be signing. I had met Raymond about a year earlier, and had really wanted to meet Mitchell. I didn’t mind once I met him. He was his usual self, very personal and nice. He commented to me on how cool it was to have autographs from Kesler and Linden. I have taken a liking to him even more after that experience. He is a very humbled guy as well as a very fast and talented young hockey player.

The excitement, passion, and the very kind people is what makes getting in-person autographs, and this hobby very addicting!